Leveraging the Cloud for Business Continuity

Leveraging the Cloud for Business Continuity

Business continuity and disaster recovery planning are an essential component for every successful business, regardless of their size, sector or location. Availability and reliability are two of the most important aspects of any successful plan.

Implementing effective disaster recovery and business continuity can be a complicated and costly exercise, with less than 50% of organisations in the UK having a business continuity plan in place.

Statistics confirm the serious implications for any business that doesn’t have a robust and regularly tested recovery plan in place.

A recent global benchmark study by The DRP Council reveals 73% of companies are unprepared for disaster recovery. In addition to direct cost losses from outages and disasters, respondents experienced serious business disruption. While most organisations reported they were able to fully recover data, nearly one in five could only partially recover data and 7% of respondents indicated a permanent loss of data. More than a quarter of respondents indicated outages cost them valuable staff time, while one in ten indicated damage to their business.

Businesses run on IT. If your infrastructure goes down, so does your business. Disruptions and outages can cause serious damage not only on operations, but also reputation. The goal of business continuity is for your organisation to continue to function during these events with minimal impact.

Increasingly, organisations are turning to the cloud for their disaster recovery and business continuity needs. Microsoft Cloud services can help maximise the benefits in both these areas, while driving down costs and freeing up internal resources to focus on the core business.

Office 365 provides a range of applications that are accessible via the cloud including, Exchange online, SharePoint, Skype for business, and the familiar Office desktop applications. In the event of a disaster, access to essential documents, emails, contacts and calendars is vital to the survival of your business. Users of Office 365 can continue to work as normal with remote and mobile access.

Service continuity provisions are part of the Office 365 system design. These provisions enable Office 365 to recover quickly from unexpected events such as hardware or application failure, data corruption, or other incidents that affect users.

Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform that runs on a worldwide network of Microsoft managed datacentres. The cloud architecture removes the cost associated with infrastructure procurement and support, replacing it with a subscription and a 24×7 99.95% uptime guarantee.

Azure backup will protect your data by backing it up to the Microsoft Cloud. Azure Backup can be used in conjunction with Windows client operating systems, Windows Server and System Centre Data Protection Manager. It also supports application workloads for SharePoint, Exchange, SQL Server, Hyper-V VMs, as well as Azure IaaS VMs running on Windows and Linux.

The Azure Site Recovery service contributes to your business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) strategy by orchestrating replication, failover and recovery of virtual machines (VMware and Hyper-V) and physical servers. Microsoft Azure Site Recovery (ASR) no longer requires System Centre to be installed on premises. This means that small / medium businesses can now afford to use Azure as a virtual DR site in the cloud.

In summary, robust business continuity and disaster recovery is being implemented effectively for thousands of small and medium sized businesses today on the Microsoft Cloud at a price they can afford.